8 Vital Instructions for Every Pastor and Church Leader

Today’s guest post comes to us from Brandon A. Cox, church planter, pastor, author and coach. Brandon is the lead pastor at Grace Hills Church in Betonville, Arkansas, and is the Community Facilitator at Pastors.com and PD.church. He is the author of Rewired and is the Leadership & Marketing Coaching Coach for Courage to Lead.

If you’re a pastor or ministry leader, you can’t help but be drawn to the first and second letters of the Apostle Paul to his young apprentice, Timothy.

Every time I read through them, my heart burns within me and I’m taken back to those moments when I first began to serve and fulfill the calling God placed on my life to full-time ministry.

As I write this, I’m preparing to preach the “charge” in the ordination of an amazing young man who was once in the youth group of the church I led as Pastor, and now he’s being commissioned as the Youth Pastor in that same congregation.

There’s so much I want to tell him… things I learned early on, things I learned the hard way over the last twenty-one years of pastoral ministry, and things I’ve had to unlearn and relearn, framed with a better understanding of both truth and grace.

As I read again Paul’s letters to Timothy in preparation, I had to make difficult choices from among all of the words written to this young pastor in the ancient world. I finally narrowed it down to eight vital, unforgettable truths contained in a single passage in 2 Timothy 1:5-14…

1. Lean into your calling and gifts. Paul told Timothy to “fan into flames the spiritual gift” given to him from God (v. 6). This stirring, this fanning, is an intentional and active process. It isn’t passive. It’s a matter of self-encouragement, like King David in the cave country when all were ready to forsake him.

Leaning into your calling and gifts means you must develop yourself, practicing and exercising and learning daily. It means choosing to re-focus on the sovereignty of the One who called you and the One whose gifts you must steward well.

2. Choose to keep growing bolder. There will be many moments when you find yourself in the tug-of-war between boldness and timidity. Always err on the side of boldness, especially when it comes to representing God’s truth and grace.

3. Be ready to suffer. If you’re going to become the man or woman God wants you to be, you will have to walk through a fire. You’ll have to be broken. Education is great. Experience is helpful, too. But when it comes to growing mature leaders, suffering is the pathway God has chosen to grow and mature us.

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 80 church growth resources and 15+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

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